Can the last nuclear scientist out please turn off the neutron initiator

“Death comes along like a gas bill one can’t pay” Anthony Burgess

With the deadline for a nuclear deal approaching news that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei (علی خامنه ای) has point blank refused to allow the IAEA any access to nuclear scientists or military sites as part of the agreement is unwelcome if not unexpected.


Khamenei cited “unreasonable demands” being made by the International community on the issue and said that he would not “let foreigners come and talk to scientists”. It’s a strong and clear message for the IAEA and the West – leave Fakhrizadeh (فخریزاده), Foroughizadeh (فروغیزاده) and their adventures at Parchin alone.

While on the surface this may look like Big Ali has got SPND’s back, the reality is quite different.

Khamenei, Hossein Dehghan (حسین دهقان) and other Iranian leaders know SPND is one big embarrassment that people want to keep their distance from. SPND has become the Mel Gibson of Iran. If you have reached a point where your only defence is getting the Supreme Leader to personally intervene on your behalf, it does not speak highly of your competence levels.


If SPND can’t afford to complete construction projects, or even pay simple utility bills, then the writing really is on the wall. While Mohsen Fakhrizadeh (محسن فخریزاده) sulks in his office, pondering what the future holds, SPND workers will be worrying about pay cuts and whether they will even have a job at all. Requests for research funding are thrown into sharp focus when you can’t even afford to keep the lights on.

Redline would not be surprised if SPND was downsized significantly in the coming months. How could Iran justify a department that size after signing a framework agreement with the West? Redline has shown SPND to be ineffective, inefficient and unsecure, and this is not news that would be lost on Hossein Dehghan. Bad management, bad decisions and poor planning mean SPND’s only competition for the worst financial performance since 2011 is Nicholas Cage.

If Redline can legitimately compare SPND to Mel Gibson AND Nicholas Cage, then you know they are in trouble.

SPND, for so long considered to be an organisation that enjoyed special, protected status, now no longer seems to be so special, so protected or even important in the thinking of Iranian officials.

The reason that the Supreme Leader does not want the IAEA to talk to these individuals is not about protection; it’s that he’d prefer that they did not exist at all. Although Redline can see more than a few problems with SPND letting a few hundred disgruntled, unmotivated scientists go at once, if Big Ali won’t let them speak to the IAEA, then who knows who they’ll speak to about their experiences.

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